The Labour Ministry yesterday released a detailed schedule for illegal migrant workers who remain in Thailand to aid them in gathering legal documentation over the next few months.
More than 5,000 Cambodian migrant workers fled the country recently after the Thai government began a crackdown on illegal foreign workers following the passage of a Royal Decree regulating their presence.
The exodus led to the suspension of the decree and a meeting between the labour ministries of both countries, during which an agreement was reached to provide workers with more time to gather legal documentation.
The Labour Ministry estimates that 1.5 million Cambodians work in Thailand, with at least 300,000 of them doing so illegally.
A Labour Ministry committee tasked with aiding the remaining illegal workers yesterday released a schedule of steps to be taken by them to gather their documents over a 180-day grace period.
According to a statement on the matter, there will be three steps to gaining legal status.
The first phase, from yesterday to August 7, will see Thai employers register their illegal workers with the Thai Labour Ministry.
The second phase, from August 8 to September 9, is when Cambodian workers are expected to appear at centres set up by Thai officials to apply for their documents.
Lastly, from September 9 to December 31, the workers must collect their documents, including work permits, in order to legitimise their presence in the country.
After collecting their papers, the workers must not change employers without proper notification to the Labour Ministry, the statement added.
“This is a good opportunity for illegal Cambodian workers to be legal workers,” said Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour. “If they become legal workers, they will gain many benefits, such as healthcare, injury insurance and the security of not being arrested.”